New Ohio exoneration casts worries about a ‘Sessions Effect’ on criminal justice


I’m just coining a turn to a familiar forensic science phrase, but US Attorney General Session’s cancelling the NCFS  (federal forensic forensics commission) has brought added attention to flawed  police science long advertised as being a legal certainty. It quite clearly has spurred some good discussions defining the  thrashing going on between scientific thinking and prosecutors .

Let’s give his legacy a name since the public is beginning to understand that Sessions is mute regarding false convictions, false plea deals and wrongful incarcerations coming out of both ‘his’ federal system of justice and affiliated state prosecuting colleagues.

The ‘Sessions Effect’ could stick much like the ‘CSI Effect’ is used as a label about juries expecting solid physical evidence to prove guilt in criminal cases. Prosecutors complain it only exists in about 10% of their cases that actually go to trial. 95% of prosecutions end up in admissions of guilt thorugh plea bargains.

There is a twist in ‘effect’ in that Sessions clearly stands for throttling Obama’s and the US Congress decade long movement to thwart the presence of flawed, incompletely tested and outright false forensic reporting by prosecution experts.

This piece gives us a short narrative of how we got to this point in forensic science reform.

Vice article on Ohio’s latest exoneration. 

About csidds

Dr. Michael Bowers is a long time forensic consultant in the US and international court systems.
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